Photo Tip: Take Your Eye Off the Viewfinder __ 07/2006

I wasn't standing on a rock here. I lifted the camera overhead to shoot.  Ford's Terror, AK
I wasn’t standing on a rock here. I lifted the camera overhead to shoot. Ford’s Terror, AK

Serious film photographers wouldn’t think of it, but point-and-shoot digital shooters routinely snap photos with camera at arms length. Not just holding the digicams straight out in front of them, but overhead, down low or off to the side.  Some point-and-shoot LCD’s even cleverly fold out and twist to aid in composing, though this isn’t a necessity. For the sports-minded, a little creativity gets the camera attached to the bike, the kayak, the ski, the mast, the strut, even the paddle. Then use a timing mode to trigger the shutter. Why glue your eyeball to a viewfinder?

Ford's Terror, Alaska.
Get Low. Ford’s Terror, AK.

For dSLR users, breaking old habits reaps rewards. The current crop of dSLR’s don’t have the luxury of a pre-view LCD. No matter. The instantaneous shot-making (no shutter lag) of the dSLR is a surpassing advantage. You check the LCD afterward to confirm that you’ve got it, and re-shoot if you didn’t. The first picture above illustrates the point. To get a high view, I held the camera overhead as the paddlers carried the kayak down to the shore. The second photo, taken a few seconds later, I walked into the water and held the camera low as the kayaker launched. It’s not necessary see what you’re getting. Consentrate instead on showing movement into the frame, and keeping the horizon line straight (this second one’s a tad crooked).